Taylor Hawkins: Why the Ongoing Opioid Crisis Needs to Be Addressed
It's safe to say that Taylor Hawkins left a lasting impression on everyone that he met.
Roger Taylor, the drummer from the band Queen, described Hawkins as a “brother” and “the best friend one could ever have” in an Instagram post shortly following his death.
Hawkins played drums with the Foo Fighters for about 25 years. Before his career began with them in 1997, he was the drummer for Alanis Morrissette. It's important to look at his achievements, not only with his career but for his wife and children.
What Do We Know About the Death of Taylor Hawkins?
We can start by looking into what life was like for Hawkins just a few months before his passing.
Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, who was close friends with Hawkins, explained that he was very tired of the road and having to constantly perform. It seemed to have taken a toll on him both physically and mentally throughout the years, and it was finally catching up to him.
In an interview with Rolling Stone about a year before he died, Hawkins explained that he was “trying really hard to figure out how to continue to keep the intensity of a young man in a 50-year-old body.”
On the night of his death, the Foo Fighters were staying at the Four Seasons in Bogota, Colombia. That night, there was a call for paramedics for a guest, who was later discovered to be Hawkins. A urine toxicology report indicated that about 10 different drugs were in his system at the time of his death, including benzodiazepines, marijuana, antidepressants, and opioids.
While there is still not an official cause of death, the forensic doctors explained that his heart weighed double the normal size and could have collapsed even without the drugs in his system. However, with the amount and number of addictive substances present in his body, drugs almost certainly played some part in his death, especially given the possible interactions between all of them.
The Importance of Understanding Drug Interactions
According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), drug interactions occur when two or more drugs combine to produce a strong reaction within the body. The different drugs that Hawkins had present in his body at his time of death all could have had dangerous interactions with each other.
While it is uncommon for people to overdose on benzodiazepines on their own, benzos can combine and react unpredictably with other drugs. Benzos slow down the body and help with insomnia and anxiety. When mixed with other drugs that have the same effect, they can turn deadly.
Opioids have become a nationwide epidemic within the past several years, resulting in an overwhelming number of overdoses. It is very important to understand the risks of mixing other drugs with opioids because, while they can be dangerous on their own, opioids are even worse when combined.
Mixing opioids and benzos can be fatal due to the slowing down of the heart and central nervous system. Marijuana and opioids can also be dangerous because they both suppress the central nervous system, which can result in low blood pressure, decreased brain function, and even death.
Together, these drugs could have combined to make a fatal cocktail in Hawkins' system, directly or indirectly bringing about his untimely death. Understanding the drummer's substance use disorder and what could have been done to treat it before it did its damage is an important lesson to take away.
Drugs and Underlying Health Conditions
Hawkins likely had an underlying health concern, specifically within his heart. Mixing different drugs can be fatal for anyone, but even worse when there is a physical health condition that can be so affected by substance use. Before you take a new medication, it is important to meet with your physician and understand the risks of each individual drug and its interactions.
While we still don't fully understand how Hawkins died and what his mental state was at the time, we can say that combining different drugs played a role. It's important to understand the dangers of the drugs you are taking, and the toll they can take on your body.
What Have We Learned?
It is unfortunate that it took such devastation to make people look at the opioid crisis, mental health, and drug interactions in a new light. These three factors clearly played a role in the death of Hawkins, based on his mindset a few months before his death and the toxicology reports.
Opioids are highly addictive, and there have been recent concerns about medical professionals overprescribing opioids and prescribing them alongside too many other medications. Due to this, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public emergency on opioids and created a five-step plan to combat this new crisis.
Connecting with a professional — whether that be your physician or clinical staff at a drug rehab — to discuss any struggles you are having can be the first step toward recovery. It is better in these situations to be educated to ensure your safety.
The Edge Treatment Center Provides Effective Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Struggling with opioid addiction is difficult. Opioids are highly addictive and require different treatments depending on the person.
At The Edge Treatment Center, we believe that you can receive treatment and have fun while doing so. We offer group activities such as paddle boarding, beach parties, and surfing. Community is a very important aspect of successful treatment as well. When you enter one of our recovery programs, you will be surrounded by others who understand what you're going through. We are a family-owned treatment center, and our deep, personal understanding of addiction is something we’re proud of.
If you or a loved one is struggling, remember you are not alone. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today.